'We've got to believe'

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

The Senators were looking to the return of captain Daniel Alfredsson to turn around their series with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Now they'll be looking for a miracle.

The Sens stand on the brink of elimination after a 4-1 loss to Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. Ottawa trails the best-of-seven series 3-0.

If the Senators are going to come back and snatch this series from the Penguins, it's going to take a miracle that only two teams in NHL history -- the 1942 Maple Leafs and 1975 New York Islanders -- have pulled off.

"We've got to believe," said Senators defenceman Christoph Schubert. "We've got to keep our head up. Teams have done it. Nobody has any faith us in any way. We all believe we can still do it."

"We just have to try to win a hockey game. We know it's uphill and we will approach like it's sudden death ... and it is," said Senators coach/GM Bryan Murray.

While Senators winger Nick Foligno opened the scoring, it was a three-point effort by Marian Hossa, along with Crosby's first goal of the playoffs, that paced the Penguins.

GOOD FOR TWO PERIODS

Through 40 minutes, the Senators were very good. But it all started to slip away when Crosby skated in on a 2-on-1 and beat Martin Gerber just 12 seconds into the third.

Jordan Staal's goal at 1:30 and Hossa's first of the playoffs at 8:55 sealed the Senators' fate.

Alfredsson, who suffered knee and neck injuries after getting nailed by Maple Leafs winger Mark Bell on April 3, was supposed to be out the entire first round, but he returned last night after taking the pre-game warm up.

Playing mostly on a line with Jason Spezza, who was doubtful with a leg injury until after the morning skate, and Foligno, Alfredsson gave it his best.

"I've tested it the last few days. I've been skating. I wanted to see if I could help the team," said Alfredsson. "I thought we had a good effort. We did a lot of good things. Two quick goals is tough."

Trying to get the offence going, Murray placed Spezza on a line with Dany Heatley and Cory Stillman late in the second period.

Heatley's third-period high- sticking double minor on Staal summed up the kind of series this has been for the Senators, whose best players have struggled. Gerber once again gave Ottawa a chance to win.

"Win one and we get a chance to play again," said Senators defenceman Chris Phillips. "We still believe. We felt pretty good going into the third and wanted to take the game over. They just fed off the early goal and kept rolling."


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